You remember the movie Jerry McGuire, yes? Tom Cruise. Cuba Gooding Jr.. “Show me the money!” Jerry’s problems started with a surge of late night inspiration, followed by a passionate drafting of an all-office memo. The next morning, he distributed his revelation. By the end of the week, his world turned upside down.

Call this my late night memo. Manifesto, even. But rather than turn my world upside down, my world finally turned right. 

The idea took shape slowly, like a mountain obscured by clouds but revealed in time. The more time, the more the clouds lifted. The more the clouds lifted, the more I considered it. The more I considered it, the more I wanted to climb it.

Even so, the idea seemed foolish, extreme. So I put it off. An entrepreneur who makes her living as an author and speaker can’t afford to disconnect from the Internet, at least not entirely. The Internet is her bread and butter, the online business card to connect with readers and events, publishers and coaching clients. To disconnect means to die a slow and sure business death.

Everyone knows this, I thought. Heck, I know this

What made it worse was the timing. I’m a few short months away from a book launch. I should be redoubling my efforts and hyper-connecting. A book’s success is all about marketing diligence and careful preplanning, right? I didn’t want my baby to go south before its birth. And surely a complete disconnect from a writer’s primary interface with readers would mean a failure of massive proportions.

And yet the idea became more compelling, beautiful. In spite of my attempts to disregard it, I couldn’t deny it.

I need thisNot “Entrepreneur Michele” or “Author Michele.” Just me.

That girl who can get swallowed up by all the pressure and pursuit and lose sight of what matters most in the achiever-driven busyness of a business.

Thus, mid-June, I disconnected. Completely. I didn’t write fresh blog posts or recycle old content. I allowed the blog to sit dormant, neglected. As a result, traffic dropped by half. Maybe more.

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and devices. At various points, Facebook enticed me emails, showing me my (dwindling) numbers, urging me to reconnect with my “fans.” I changed all passwords to something I couldn’t remember (NOT hard to do). Then I logged out of every account from my browser, making it impossible to reengage without significant effort.

But I didn’t want to go to the effort. I knew this respite wasn’t just good, it was necessary. Besides, I suspected there was something within this one decision that hinted at a complete reorientation, a longterm refocusing and commitment to contemplation, deep work, and rest.

I was right. Today is August 2, 2016. I’m not offering you a nice and neat “3 secrets to a meaningful life,” nor will I legislate my process or force you to swallow my spoonfuls of life medicine. We each must find our own way, discover the right balance of work and rest, connection and disconnect. It will vary based on season and profession and personality.

But I now know this about myself and my path: If I’m going to do what I love to do—what I’m uniquely equipped to do—I can’t be hyperconnected all the time.

My calling—my passion—is to do meaningful work and equip others to do the same.

To lead more complicated conversations around authentic faith and real life.

To tell powerful stories in a way that inspires us to live differently as a result.

To invest deeply in individuals and organizations by identifying and developing their unique message.

The problem is, I cannot source my own well. The fuel for what I do is sourced in my relationship with a real God. In consistent rest. In reading and contemplation, wrestling and writing. If I spend the majority of each day’s hours scanning social media or responding to vast amounts of email, I dehydrate. Just as a well’s bucket must descend to have anything to offer, I must disconnect to dive deep and drink.

In short, I can’t allow the “how” of my calling to eclipse the “heart” of it.

Consider this: Is it possible we’ve confused the two? Is it possible that we’ve poured ourselves into the “how” of what we do to the neglect of pouring into what we do and why we do it?

There is nothing wrong with writing blog posts, connecting with new friends on social media, and developing a solid business strategy that knows how to leverage the powerful tool of the Internet. That’s good business practice.

However, my calling is not to be an Internet Jedi Master nor build a Facebook Dynasty. My gifts are not to churn out products or posts or build a World Domination Email List. And my life’s work is not to be the Forever Champion of Email Inbox Zero.

At times, those tasks are productive means. But they are not the ultimate end. And if the means grow to overshadow the end, then we’ve lost something of the heart of who we are and what we’re called to.

This won’t be the last time I disengage. In fact, I believe you’ll see me do it more often. Not because I care little for what I do, but because I care so much.

At the same time, I don’t plan to abandon blogging, social media or email. I see great value of utilizing those opportunities to the best of my ability.

But they aren’t my “heart.” They’re simply my “how.” And I commit to doing both in proper proportion.

What about you?

{Image Copyright: wiratgasem / 123RF Stock Photo}

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